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PRESS RELEASE: The Breast Cancer Research Foundation Announces the Continued Expansion of the Drug Research Collaborative to Speed the Delivery of New Treatment Options

By BCRF | December 11, 2019

NEW YORK, NY – December 11, 2019 – The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) announced $5 million in funding provided by Eli Lilly and Company to conduct investigator-initiated studies of the CDK4 & 6 inhibitor, Verzenio® (abemaciclib). Lilly will also provide the drug, at no cost, to investigators to conduct the studies they design. Recent results from the MONARCH 2 study showed that Verzenio in combination with fulvestrant significantly extended life in women with HR+, HER2- advanced breast cancer previously treated with endocrine therapy. This project is an extension of BCRF’s already vibrant Drug Research Collaborative. It will allow academic physicians and scientists to further explore the ability to help patients with breast cancer, to define mechanisms of resistance and find ways of overcoming them, to develop novel combinations and schedules, among many other opportunities.

Lilly is the latest industry leader to join BCRF’s Drug Research Collaborative. This unique program is aimed at bringing together the best academic investigators, the most promising oncology drugs and the top medical centers to accelerate the development of critical new treatment options. The program has created the opportunity to creatively explore approaches to treating cancer that would not otherwise be possible. Since the launch of the Collaborative in 2016, BCRF has dedicated $25 million to this program, supporting 15 internationally renowned investigators.

“What makes the Drug Research Collaborative so productive is that the best attributes of both academia and industry are melded together. This program allows the academic community to design and conduct innovative, cutting-edge trials based on original laboratory research and using the best drugs. It both facilitates and speeds progress.” said Larry Norton, MD, BCRF Founding Scientific Director and Medical Director of the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

“We are excited to work with BCRF to support the Drug Research Collaborative and further study the role of Verzenio for the treatment of breast cancer,” said Maura Dickler, M.D., vice president, late stage development, Lilly Oncology. “This is a unique opportunity to collaborate with scientists and clinical investigators. It underscores our ongoing dedication to advancing the science and developing new treatment strategies that may help doctors and their patients more effectively treat this disease.”

In spite of the great progress against breast cancer that research has accomplished since the time of the founding of BCRF, much remains to be accomplished. The use of medicines early in the course of disease is still needed to prevent metastasis from happening in more patients and the 155,000 women and men now living with metastatic breast cancer need to know that the BCRF is dedicated to developing treatments that are maximally effective while minimizing harmful side effects. The Drug Research Collaborative is an important part of being the end of breast cancer.

About BCRF
The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) is dedicated to being the end of breast cancer by advancing the world’s most promising research. Founded by Evelyn H. Lauder in 1993, BCRF-funded investigators have been deeply involved in every major breakthrough in breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment, survivorship and metastasis. This year, BCRF has awarded $66 million in grants to support the work of nearly 275 scientists at leading medical and academic institutions across 14 countries, making BCRF the largest private funder of breast cancer research worldwide. BCRF is also the highest-rated breast cancer organization in the U.S. Visit to learn more.

About Lilly Oncology
For more than 50 years, Lilly has been dedicated to delivering life-changing medicines and support to people living with cancer and those who care for them. Lilly is determined to build on this heritage and continue making life better for all those affected by cancer around the world. To learn more about Lilly’s commitment to people with cancer, please visit

About Eli Lilly and Company
Lilly is a global health care leader that unites caring with discovery to create medicines that make life better for people around the world. We were founded more than a century ago by a man committed to creating high-quality medicines that meet real needs, and today we remain true to that mission in all our work. Across the globe, Lilly employees work to discover and bring life-changing medicines to those who need them, improve the understanding and management of disease, and give back to communities through philanthropy and volunteerism. To learn more about Lilly, please visit us at and


Verzenio® is a trademark owned by or licensed to Eli Lilly and Company, its subsidiaries, or affiliates.


Media contacts:
Sadia Zapp, BCRF Managing Director of Communications, (646) 497-2639 or